Of course, I'd heard of Balboa Park in San Diego: big park, nice trees people would say. Why didn't anyone tell me this is America's grand recreation of Spanish Renaissance architecture? The endless complex of buildings in Spanish style at the heart of the Park are almost surrealistic in their extravagance: I was enchanted (despite the drizzle) and amazed at the scope and the extent of the illusion. And the trees and gardens are there....but those buildings!
We spend enormous amounts of money on things nowadays: the Olympics for instance. They seem to have taken the place of the old Expositions and World Fairs. But any buildings constructed are always contemporary and functional. There is something amazing that people would have gone to such enormous extremes a hundred years ago to honor the Spanish heritage of California. I have not researched it yet, but I suspect there was a single person at the bottom of it all--and a damned persuasive one at that.
Many images and vistas crowd my mind from my recent 3 week sojourn in lotusland: California is a beguiling place any time of year, but in the depths of Colorado winter, it's heaven. It didn't hurt our family and friends there are all connoisseurs and consummate hosts...
In fact, my feelings upon returning are perfectly captured by this little vignette from Balboa Park: